10:30, 26 February 2021 CORRECTION: The original article mistakenly said one group, Labour Activists For Justice, was bringing a case. In fact, there are two groups: Labour Activists For Justice (LA4J) and The Left Legal Fighting Fund (LLFF), supporting six and two claimants respectively. The recent hearing reported here saw the judge allow two claimants supported by LLFF to join the claim filed by LA4J in December. We apologise for this error, which has been corrected in the article below.
Labour members expelled or suspended over antisemitism allegations will have their day in court, a judge has ruled. The decision to take the cases to a full hearing came on Wednesday 24 February after resistance from Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
Speaking about his victory at the High Court, journalist Sameh Habeeb said:
I joined the Labour Party after I came to the UK as a refugee from Gaza. I thought it shared my values, but the Party has let me down. I’ve been suspended for over two years and have been gagged from responding to constant attacks on my character.
I never wanted to take my own Party to court, but there was no other way to get justice. This legal action has the potential to set a new legal precedent about how Labour treats its members, which would prevent others in my position from being subjected to this gross unfairness.
Co-claimant, Alma Yaniv said:
The Labour Party suspended me nearly two years ago. Since then, I’ve been left in limbo, unable to properly respond to the allegations that have been levelled against me.
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Rather than resolving our cases as quickly as possible, it seems to me that the Party is simply trying to cause more unnecessary delays. Labour has treated pro-Palestine members with contempt. At last, with this court process, we have a chance of achieving justice.
Two groups are bringing cases against Labour. Yaniv and Habeeb are supported by the Left Legal Fighting Fund.
Another group, known as Labour Activists For Justice, represents six other members and includes:
an 80-year-old Jewish woman twice accused of antisemitism by the party, a long-standing Jewish trade unionist and a retired Jewish professor.
According to Swawkbox, the party argued against eight similar cases being taken forward together as one and had wanted a preliminary hearing which the members felt would “have substantially delayed matters and increased costs”.
The complainants reportedly wanted to combine the cases:
in the interests of the most economic and speedy resolution of the case
We can reveal that the Fighting Fund won a major victory against @UKLabour at the High Court this afternoon. The Party suffered a double defeat and the judge awarded costs to our side. This was an important first step in a wider legal battle.
Supporters of the group celebrated the news:
Great news ppl and good luck in the future case
I see a lot more litigation heading Labours way from ex-members and others that have been purged unjustly or for spurious reasons that have nothing to do with the Rule Book which Evans and Keith have thrown away
Labour is dead
— philip.howard: "Labour must clear house"Ex-Labour (@philiphoward20) February 24, 2021
Skwawkbox said that the new decision was a step forward for those accused:
The victory is a significant boost for those fighting Labour’s assault on member rights and freedom of speech since Keir Starmer took over the leadership.
Others seemed to think it was a signal example of the current leadership style.
Starmer's forensic leadership. https://t.co/66YuVTvjEr
— Aran Lewis (@aranmlewis) February 25, 2021
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Joe Gratz
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